Blog by Toby Welch

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Writing Time + Kids

Blogger Paul Sonsteby discovered the key to finding more time in his life to write: his children. “I know it’s contrary to the norm, but the best thing that has happened to my writing time has been my kids. Suddenly, I had a completely different value for all of my time. Most of it didn’t belong to me, and I became obsessive about being productive with what remained, and I even tried to blend the two. I purchased a laptop so I could write near my wife when the kids were still infants. Now, I write while my kids are playing, sleeping, or even if I only have a few free minutes (Wi-Fi off, headphones in). For a time I tried getting up at 5am, but I found that my brain couldn’t compose well at that hour, regardless of how much I wanted it to. Lately, I’ve started staying at work for an hour after everyone has left. Being in a place where I am normally productive, with a regimented schedule, in relative quiet, is tremendous. It gives me something to look forward to all day, and when I’m already in “work mode” I spend free moments during the day planning what I’ll write.”

Sonsteby continues, “Four to six times per year, I go by myself for a day at my in-laws’ cabin. I write from seven in the morning until well past dark, when either my fingers or the wine have given out—never the ideas! On those days, I usually run between 5,000 and 10,000 words depending on the piece, and on how fired up I get. I never let myself edit what I produce until I get home. My day to day writing builds to and from these days.”